The Russians and the Space Rebellion

Space Rebellion. Without shouting, official announcements, flowery statements. In fact, just in silence. The three Russian cosmonauts who bounded into the International Space Station aboard the Soyuz MS-21 Friday night needed to change their suits. They were photographed wearing a blue uniform while flying. But upon entering the International Space Station, the three presented themselves in yellow, with clear blue stripes. A message so blunt, that even the Russia that sent them into space (and will probably now leave them there even months later than the timeline predicted) is trying to deny that this is a deliberate act. Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, was keen to point out that “yellow is sometimes only yellow”. And that Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov were all banned from the same university, Bauman, which bears those colors in the emblem. Justification for “squeaking”, especially if it is filled in later. For his part, Artemyev accompanied the choice with a vague expression and a wide smile: “It’s our turn to choose the color. Indeed, we have accumulated a lot of yellow matter that we must use. That is why we had to wear yellow.”

No open challenge, faint but clear indicator. The three hugged their seven fellow adventurers. Citizens Anton Kabelrov and Peter Dubrov, Germany’s Matthias Maurer of the European Space Agency (ESA), and Americans Raya Shari, Thomas Mashburn, Kayla Barrow and Mark Vande are from NASA. The Russian attack on Ukraine blew up the international plan for the Mars mission, which was canceled, but cooperation between space agencies to manage the International Space Station remained open. Also because there were those seven humans in orbit and four more will arrive in April, including Samantha Cristoforetti.

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In Moscow, the trumpet cries of “the first all-Russian crew to arrive at the International Space Station in 14 years” soon drifted into an awkward silence over the photo of the three Kremlin campaigners greeting the world dressed in the colors of Ukraine. A silent request for peace in the eyes of these “space specialists” who used to prepare missions for months in silence and observing our planet from above. From there, in recent weeks, the attack on the Kremlin has seemed even more ridiculous and inexplicable. Here we are struggling with the ulterior motives and ambitions of a Caesar who chose to break the balance and world peace. It must seem from space unreasonable and hallucinogenic.

In 1957, the Russians sent the dog Laika into orbit aboard Sputnik 2. He had to “experience” life in space. With no chance of survival. Today the mutiny of the three cosmonauts is an unmistakable “SOS” launched back home. Respect Ukraine. Make peace. Hopefully, for the three cosmonauts, Moscow will retain a different fate than that of poor Laika.

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